As the second half of the 72-game 2021 NBA season is underway, the Los Angeles Lakers still have time to assess the roster’s strengths and weaknesses before the March 25 trade deadline arrives.
The Lakers currently sit in third place in the Western Conference, and given the circumstances they’ve dealt with regarding Anthony Davis’ injury and Dennis Schroder’s health and safety protocols situation, the league hasn’t seen this squad at full strength for a decent stretch.
However, that doesn’t mean the Lakers aren’t exempt from upgrading their roster if the right move knocks on their door. Rumors have already begun swirling around Los Angeles, from the team’s interest in P.J. Tucker to optimism in securing Andre Drummond’s signature if the center is bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Lakers have plausible options if they seek to enhance the roster’s talent level, but as far as player movement is concerned, LeBron James isn’t focused on it.
“I’m not in the mind frame of what needs to happen as far as our roster,” James said. “For us, what needs to happen is we just want to play better basketball with the group we’ve got and I believe in every guy that’s in our locker room and every guy that hits the floor on every given night.
“Obviously throughout the course of the season, if there’s an opportunity for your team to get better through trades or through the market of guys getting bought out and things of that nature, you assess that then. But I don’t really put my mindset to it, I don’t really think about it right now in my career.”
James added he’s confident in L.A.’s ability to be the best team when everyone is a full-go, something they haven’t experienced much of during this injury-riddled season.
“I love what we have, obviously we’ve had some injuries with the big one being [Anthony Davis], that’s the biggest injury, but from there on we’ve had some other things as well,” James said. “But I believe when we’re whole and when we’re full, we can compete with anyone in the world.”
As the Lakers prepare to face the Indiana Pacers Friday to commence their second-half schedule, all eyes are on the team’s ability to repeat and claim their 18th championship in franchise history.
Los Angeles hasn’t appeared to play at their peak this season — much of it boils down to missing key players — and just before the All-Star break, this unit definitely looked out of fuel.
James said the Lakers’ chances of repeating this year could stem heavily on the break that All-Star weekend provided, as rest for the team has been extremely minimal.
“I feel like we definitely needed a break,” James said. “I feel like mentally, physically, spiritually, whatever the case may be and so on, guys just needed to get away from the game, get away from it all and be with their families, be with their loved ones, be with their friends.
“Like I said, kind of just get away. Get away from the game, get away from the grind and things of that nature and I think it’s going to benefit our team. Obviously only time will tell, we’ll see very soon as we have a game tomorrow night. But I’m looking forward to this practice today, just getting back with the guys, fresh minds, and hopefully guys got so much rest that they have fresh bodies too, we’ll see.”
James not planning to rest during second half
The second-half schedule for the Lakers is charged with tough opponents, and many of those games occur on back-to-backs and one day of rest.
That could warrant some concerns about James’ health, but the 18-year veteran said he won’t be resting often.
“No, not for me,” James said. “It’s go time. It’s the second half of the season and its’s time to get prepared and make that turn around that last lap going into the postseason.
“So if I get to that point, we’ll cross it then. But you guys know me by now, I’m not looking ahead saying ‘let me take this off or let me take that off.’ It’s go time for me.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!